Run your own cloud service

Eat your own dog food.The Omni Group: “We’ve designed OmniPresence around open web protocols, so you’re welcome to use our free Omni Sync Server or to host your own cloud server. We think that the option to host your own cloud is important—not just because of concerns with respect to privacy and security (though that’s key for many businesses), but because it means you can keep that cloud running as long as you want to keep using it. As we saw with MobileMe shutting down earlier this year, individual cloud services can easily disappear as business models change. Building a solution around open standards means that our customers have a choice of hosting providers rather than being tied to a single ephemeral cloud solution.”

Omni is taking an interesting approach to their cloud services. Besides running a cloud service you can use they’re going to let you run your own based on open web standards and protocols.

Very nice.

iOS Mobile

iOS Sharing Across Apps

I tend to use my iPhone for a lot of things on a day-to-day basis. I watch my Twitter stream, send links from Twitter to Pocket viewing, and on occasion I write weblog posts from WordPress for iOS. Yes, all from my phone.

The read later piece from Twitterrific to Pocket works flawlessly, I’m very pleased with that, but once it arrives at Pocket I feel like it’s a bit difficult to create a new weblog post.

Here’s what I want, from Pocket, but it could start with any application that can view a web page. In this case I’d like to go from Pocket to WordPress for iOS, or Tumblr for iOS. Bits of this work for the Pocket to Tumblr for iOS case, it just falls short.

  1. Select a bit of the article. Say, a paragraph, or a sentence
  2. Tap on the Share button
  3. Select WordPress from the menu
  4. Pocket would launch WordPress and create a new weblog post to my default weblog.

I’d like to have the ability to control the formatting template for the new post, but I think we need a standard way to share between iOS applications. David Barnard, of App Cubby, has done a great job with Launch Center Pro encouraging companies to support custom URL schemes so applications can communicate with each other, but we need more.

Custom URL Schemes is something I haven’t done in an iOS application, so some of these requests may be unreasonable, but here goes.

Would it be possible to declare a standard JSON format, much in the way RSS is a standard, that would allow applications to pass clips of data to each other? As part of the URL scheme (I’m not sure how long a URL scheme can be), or via the clipboard. I’m not sure if an iOS developer can control what goes on the clipboard, but if you can, what about something that includes the following.

  1. Source Site Name – Blog > Apple Core Labs
  2. Source URL – E.G.
  3. Snippet – This would be the selected text, say, from Pocket.

Here’s what the JSON may look like.

		"sourceSiteName:" "Blog > Apple Core Labs",
		"sourceURL:" "",
		"snippet:" "Are you looking for a partner to help make your iOS dream application a reality?"

I think that’s enough for starters.

If applications could also agree on supporting a standard set of URL scheme resources, I think we could achieve much of what I’m after.

What if WordPress accepted this?


Now, like I said earlier, this may not be possible because the string appended to the resource, the part after the ‘?’, may make the URL too long. If we can control what’s put on the clipboard, here again I’m a bit naive, it could allow us to communicate between the two applications. If the ‘newPostWithStandard’ was handled by the receiver, and we could put formatted text on the clipboard, we can now execute a custom command to create a new weblog post using the data in our JSON formatted clipboard data.

The best support, of course, would be from Apple in the form of a system accepted sharing API. We can only hope.

Business Development

Dave Winer, at it again.

Dave Winer: “Anyway, this is a heads-up that I will be publishing the spec as a draft in the next few days. But first I want to establish the motivation (that’s the purpose of this piece), then explain the philosophy about standards (this is in no way intended to be one) and what prior art influenced me. If other people find this useful, I hope there will be implementations in other languages. And there will need to be ancillary services.”

Dave, thanks for doing this. Thanks for your continued efforts to build the open web.

Google Mobile

One developers view of Android changes

Elia Freedman“This is a huge change for Google and one I applaud. The old model was just not tenable. No one — and I mean no one except carriers and those manipulating the OS for their nefarious gains — liked what was happening to Android. As developers it was too many minute changes on too many platforms. It wasn’t one Android, it was 5000 of them: Verizon’s Android, AT&T’s Android, HTC’s Android, Motorola’s Android, Samsung’s Android, etc. And as developers we had to pick and choose which Android we would support.”

I’d imagine the developers that are trying to make money on this platform will love the change. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll mean a more consistent experience.